Sometimes markers, historical and otherwise, are all that's left to remind us of people, places and happenings of the past.
One would think that the Savannah River, the natural boundary between Georgia and South Carolina, would be enough to let us know when we left one state and entered the other.
While exploring the land off Furys Ferry Road near the bridge of the same name, I made my way through small branches and brush to get a better view. Suddenly, I discovered a striking old granite Georgia State Line marker perched atop a 4-foot-high base. I couldn't tell how long it had been sitting there, but it probably dated to when the first bridge was erected across the river back in the early part of the 20th century, effectively putting the ferry out of business.
In my quest to learn more about this lost artifact, I contacted some local and state historians whom I thought could help me in determining the age of the marker and who had built it.
I learned that another such marker, almost identical except for some slight variations in the base, is located along the Alabama-Georgia state line in West Point, Ga. Others might be located along other state lines with Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Peg Glover, chairman of historical trail markers for the Garden Club of Georgia and chairman of The Blue Star Markers for Azalea District and Augusta Council (GCG), remarked in an e-mail, "Very interesting marker you found. Just hope there is a historian out there that can unveil its mystery."
Once contacted about this misplaced piece of history, Tim Holloway, manager of Columbia County's Department of Roads and Bridges, was very eager to know that location of the area so that he could have a crew clean it so that it could be viewed again.
"I am a lifelong resident of Columbia County and I appreciate our local history," Holloway said.
He suggested that the road likely was closer to the marker at one time, and that the growth obscuring it was "probably 25 to 30 years old." This would make sense, because the current Furys Ferry Bridge has a date of 1984 on it, which makes it 26 years old.
With all of the recent discussions on how to provide a better face to visitors to Columbia County, the past should not be forgotten. Although new metal signs would look nice, of course, what is irreplaceable is our history.
Besides a lost maker recently rediscovered, what other significant persons, places and events have been lost to time and await rediscovery? A drive around the county, especially in our rural areas, turns up plenty of historic home sites that are deteriorating, for instance.
Let us not forgot our past as we look forward to our future.
(John Roy is a local writer and historian.)
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